Archive for the 'kosher restaurants in New York' Category

11
Nov
13

Solo – A Chinese Variation on a Theme


Solo has always been a very classy act. Perhaps it was the red interior, accenting Solo’s newest Chinese themed cuisine, that caused a mind-melding color association with a movie I once saw called The Red Violin. A master violin maker, Nicolo Bussotti, creates a magnificent red colored violin of impeccable sound and quality; the story fans out as the violin passes among its talented owners, spanning many countries and the breadth of four centuries. Solo in many ways resembles the exquisite violin in the story. Throughout its variations from meat to dairy and back to meat in oriental presentation, Solo has – since it opened its doors – provided masterful fair, exemplary high end quality dishes, service, artful presentation, with creative recipe variations yielding delightful results. Valentino, Solo‘s manager – a mother hen, in a good way – is there from early morning until midnight, day in and day out, making sure that Solo‘s standards remain at the top of its class.

At the request of its many loyal habitués, Solo has kept some of its most popular items like cowboy steak, and beef sliders. It’s a good thing too; CS and I started off our meal with Solo‘s Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, topped with avocado mash served with kimchi and mango salsa – some variations since last we sampled it, but still perfection. Their Salmon Carpaccio…

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was the ultimate example of high quality fare Solo is so famous for. You must must try the Porcini Mushroom Soup. It was just fabulous; you could wean babies on this creamy caramel colored delight. I don’t know how, but I just gotta that recipe. I could have eaten three bowls full. Maybe we’ll kidnap Eka, our trusty waiter, whom we’ve just adored for years, and torment him with heavy Jewish recipes ’til he gives up some kitchen secrets. The Hot and Sour Soup

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was almost as good to our palate as the mushroom soup that preceded it, though the first one remains an undisputed favorite.

We sampled two more fabulous fish dishes, check that, we devoured them! The Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass…

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with bok choy was outstanding, subtly sweet with just the right kick of pungent; the Salmon Teriyaki, cut triangles from the choicest part of top quality organic salmon, had the finest veil of spiced rice powdered crispness – again, superbly flavored! I have never enjoyed fish more.

Hagafen‘s Sauvignon Blanc 2011 accompanied our fish dishes – it showed very little personality except for its nice fruity bouquet. We switched to Hagafen‘s Pinot Noir 2011, a bit more flavorful for the meat courses that followed. Interesting Crispy Chinese Beef Balls – lemon flavored meatballs – they were uniquely lemony, moist and delicious.

Pan Seared Beef Dumplings…

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followed and they were light and delicious. Our final entree was the Mongolian Style Beef Filet, brought sizzling to the table, very Chinese, spicy savory, quite good. I don’t know if Chinese is the last cuisine variation that Solo will ever introduce, perhaps they will offer a fusion of just superbly crafted dishes. What I do know is that however they may vary their menu, Solo remains one of the finest orchestrations of fine dining in New York City.

SYR

23
Jul
13

Sòlo – Revisited


We’ve reviewed Sòlo in its prior incarnation (here, and here), so why are we reviewing it again? Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building), has reinvented itself as a dairy restaurant. We liked it as a meat eatery, now it changed… We had more than enough confidence in Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin so we decided to give it a try and see what a former meat restaurant turned dairy could do…

SYR had an out of town guest, whose home cooking is the stuff legends are made of (I should know, I’ve stayed in their guest house many a time over the years!), and she came with me. We chose a busy time, on a busy night, with last minute reservations to best test the service. As soon as we were assigned a table, we found ourselves in the able hands of Eka Halim, waiter extraordinaire!

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Fritto Misto all' Italiana

Fritto Misto all’ Italiana

We started our repast with Fritto Misto all’ Italiana, an assorted plate of rice balls, potato croquettes, eggplant and zucchini served with a trio of unique dipping sauces. The tastes were subtle yet definite, the sauces, rather than overpowering, introduced nice variations; we both loved it!

We segued with Big Eye Tuna Tartare - a raw big eye tuna, local farmed apples, roasted pine nuts, marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, served chilled – and Branzino Carpaccio…

Branzino Carpaccio

Branzino Carpaccio

…it consisted of raw, thinly sliced white fish, citrus  salt and capers, drizzled with an artisanal imported Italian olive oil and squeezed lemon.

Both were scrumptious; it was obvious the combination of ingredients was done with as much attention, as much focus on the final result, as the old master painters of the Renaissance put into the mixing of their colors!

Next we tried Eggplant Parmeggiana, slow baked alternating layers of eggplant with tomato sauce, parmesan and daily homemade mozzarella. Every ingredient shone on its own as well as a member of a well choreographed ballet on my palate. Wooow!

Before trying the pastas we had a Warm Goat Cheese Salad, with hazelnut crusted goat cheese croquette, arugula, roasted beet medley, caramelized local market pears, haricots verts drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette. Superbly balanced flavors. We segued into Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

The rigatoni pasta came with with zucchini, garden basil, imported pecorino romano cheese, eggs, cracked black pepper and cream. Richly flavorful!

We followed with Homemade Truffle & Butternut Squash Ravioli, with truffle Parmesan sauce and sliced black truffle…

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

…the Parmesan sauce gave it all a superb taste without overpowering anything else!

Risotto al Pesto was Chef David’s next choice for us…

Risotto al Pesto

Risotto al Pesto

This delicate, aromatic risotto came with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and haricot verts. Excellent, is an understatement!

Fettucini alla Puttanesca came next….

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fresh homemade fettuccine with imported olives, capers, garlic and grape tomatoes, t’was a true masterpiece in taste and in looks.

Penne alla Vodka was our next dish…

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

It came with tomato sauce, onions, cherry tomatoes  and romano cheese. Probably the best Penne alla Vodka I ever had.

Fish came next, considering that a mere three and a half years ago I could still honestly say I never tasted fish, I learned to appreciate the creatures rather fast. In rapid succession we devoured Wild Smoked Salmon and Mozzarella, Tuna Filet Pepper Verde and a Chilean Sea Bass Scallopini.

The wild salmon came in an avocado puree, with homemade mozzarella in a balsamic reduction; there is hardly anything as delicious as fresh salmon. The tuna filet was served with green pepper crusted big eye tuna steak, Dijon mustard, cream and a vodka reduction. The sea bass dish consisted of thinly sliced Chilean sea bass sauteed with lemon, white wine, capers, sundried tomatoes, parsley, basil and shallots. All three were a testament to the Chef’s artistry.

We washed this massive feast down with a Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, as suggested by – our waiter - Eka. Though it is a native California wine, its style is very French; it exhibits currant, berry, and cherry combined with a delightful earthy minerality. Its tannins are soft, smooth and well balanced, culminating in a long elegant finish.

We capped the meal with a Tiramisu, again it was obvious that while we had expected a delicious meal, we got a very memorable royal feast!

There is no question I’ll be coming back again and again!

CS




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